There is no denying that domestic violence is a big issue not just in North Carolina, but across the United States as well. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. In reality, that number is probably much higher because of how often domestic violence incidences go unreported to the police or other authorities. Even more unfortunate, though, are the number of cases that are reported to the police that ends up to be false.
There are a number of reasons someone might falsely report abuse to the police. The most common reasons are revenge and trying to get the upper hand in a divorce or custody battle. Being falsely accused of domestic violence is devastating; it can leave the accused person feeling trapped, angry, and unsure about what to do next. If they are convicted of the false charges, they will be facing a lifetime of consequences for something that never happened.
So what should you do if you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence? Our Beaufort attorneys have some suggestions.
Hire an attorney immediately.
Do not wait to hire an attorney and do not hope that the accuser will come to their senses and drop the charges. It’s probably not going to happen and you will likely have to fight these charges. Do it with an experienced attorney by your side, preferably one that has worked on domestic violence cases in the past and even has experience with false accusations. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner they can start helping to guide you through this incredibly difficult and turbulent time.
Do not meet with the accuser alone.
You might need to pick up your personal belongings or drop off your children, but don’t do it by yourself. Always have a witness with you so the accuser cannot lodge further complaints against you if you upset them. In some states, the police or sheriff’s office will go with you to pick up your belongings and ensure there is no trouble. If not, take a trusted friend or a neutral party along with you.
Cooperate with the police.
If the police are called at any time, fully cooperate with them. You might be upset, angry, and embarrassed. The police might even arrest you in front of your neighbors or even your children. Whatever happens, be polite and do not say anything to them except that you’d like to speak to your lawyer. You could accidentally damage your case by saying anything more. Arguing with or fighting off the police is only going to hurt your chances of a favorable outcome.
This is especially important if you are the one who has actually been abused. Take photographs of any injuries you may have received and share them with your attorney. If there is any harassment taking place like stalking you on social media or repeatedly calling your phone, document all of those instances. That may help your defense in the future.
Keep a cool head.
This is easier said than done, we know. But it’s important to try to keep a cool head and to stay calm throughout the process. That’s going to work in your favor in case these charges go to trial. Share what’s happening with your friends and family so they can help support you through the process, too. That can help you manage your feelings and deal with the situation more clearly.
Have you been falsely accused of domestic violence? Our attorneys in Beaufort would love to help. Get in touch with us today for a free case consultation and to learn more about how we can help.